Feb 08 2013

Book Excerpt 3 from Butterfly in the City: Waiting to See the Doctor at Hospital Mexico

One of Paul’s favorite books is Jo Stuart’s, Butterfly in the City: A Good Life in Costa Rica. It gives a great picture of daily life here in Costa Rica, especially in San Jose, the capital. So much of what she writes, we agree with, and with Jo’s permission, we will reprint excerpts in our newsletter from time to time. Here’s one where she talks about healthcare:

Waiting to see the doctor at Hospital Mexico

by Jo Stuart

“A nice gentleman gave me his seat, telling me to ‘sit down’ in English. It turned out that he had seen my Trader Joe’s bag and knew I was from the States…He was there with his father-in-law, a handsome man of 84, waiting to have his pacemaker checked. The father-in-law was a Tico, born in the U.S. having returned to Costa Rica…We compared the health services in the U.S. and Costa Rica and agreed that one reason the waiting rooms were so crowded was that no Tico comes alone. They’re accompanied by at least one, and usually more, family members. And given the sympathetic doctors and nurses here, many people take advantage of it and come in with minor ailments. ‘We’re sissies,’ the older gentleman said. I pointed out that life expectancy in Costa Rica has surpassed that in the U.S. and maybe taking care of minor ailments was a form of preventative medicine.”


From Butterfly in the City, page 153-154. Used with permission.

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